FORT MYERS, Fla.- A Safe Pool Party at the Tice Pool in Fort Myers on Saturday promoted safe swimming for kids in the community.
The Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, along with the Lee County Sheriff's Office and Kohl's Kids Safety Program came together to host the free event.
Drowning is the number one cause of death for children under 5 in Florida, so the Children's Hospital wanted to bring the issue to the forefront.
Lina Quintana, Kohl's Center for Safety Coordinator with the Children's Hospital, says, "Lee County had fallen out of the top 10 counties (in Florida) for drownings, but unfortunately we might be back there again. That's the reason we want to get the word out there and raise awareness. It can happen to anybody."
The hospital reports at least six drownings this summer.
Lifeguards were on hand to work with kids at the event, and teach them how to swim.
Jackie Parrish brought her daughter Aailayah, who was afraid to get in the water after a near-drowning experience a few years ago. "She was only 5 years old at the time and I had to pull her out, her eyes were rolling back. It was scary, the worst fear for a parent," she says.
She says she was glad to see her daughter working with the lifeguards to swim across the pool. "With their help, with their help. The lifeguard is a lifesaver because she didn't want nothing to do with the pool, she wanted to sit in the bleachers, and little by little she talked to her and she's able to go in now."
Through the Children's Hospital and the Kohl's Kids Safety program, they donated 36 life jackets to the Tice Pool.
Kohl's also made a nearly $75,000 donation to the Children's Hospital.
Lee County Sheriff's Deputy Angelo Vaughn says they re-opened the Tice Pool on Sundays in June, and it has been a big success. "The kids, they just love it. The parents greatly appreciate it. The pool has been closed down for a little bit, but now we're getting things up and running." He says more than 700 kids have come out to swim this summer.